Reflection 3rd February 2013

The Presentation in the Temple

Western society does not value age. Our elderly, wise and experienced senior citizens are too easily disregarded or even mocked. People can be impatient with their slower pace, their need for more quiet than noise,

An easy remembrance of their past life, with some recent events needing to mellow before recalling.

And yet in the Bible, in all our valued texts, age and its wisdom are highly prized. The presence and words of Simeon and Anna at the Presentation of our Lord into the Temple speak to us in several ways. Here are the representatives of “old” Israel, those who trusted God’s promise that the Messiah would come; whose fidelity was rewarded, as they both recognised precisely who Jesus was – and who were not afraid to say so! Simeon thanked God but prophetically warned Mary of the cost to her as a mother. Anna, too, praised God and spoke fearlessly to anyone who would listen.

Growing older can make us more courageous, more outspoken, reckless, even. No longer needing the world’s approval, age describes what it sees, not always what the world wants to see; which may be why radical justice issues are often supported by older people, who grow tired of political excuses for deprivation and conflict, and who refuse to remain silent. Following the fine examples set by Simeon and Anna, who spoke out in that hallowed place, vocal witnesses to the Incarnation of God before them.

Judith Carpenter

(Reflections are provided each week by a member of the congregation.)

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